Here, you'll find answers to questions regarding the Commencement ceremony. Please use the menu below to help navigate the FAQ.
- General Questions
- Graduation Candidates (Students) Questions
- Staff and Faculty Questions
When is Commencement 2012?
Saturday, May 12, 2012.
What time is Commencement?
There are two ceremonies. The morning ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.; the afternoon ceremony begins at 4 p.m.
Where does Commencement take place?
Commencement will take place at the Comcast Center on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. Comcast Center is located on Terrapin Trail, College Park, MD, 20742.
How do I get to Comcast Center?
You can find a College Park campus map online (900KB pdf) (Comcast Center is building number 360 on this map). Comcast Center has no street address, but you can still search for turn-by-turn driving directions using "Comcast Center, Regents Drive, College Park, MD 20742."
Where do I park on Commencement day—is there a fee?
Parking for Commencement 2012 is free. As you approach Comcast Center, you will see signs and police officers directing traffic into the College Park campus. Follow their direction to the parking lots. Graduating students and their guests will park in the same lots. No parking passes or permits are required for the lots.
Can students or their guests park in the Terrapin Trail Garage?
No, parking in the Terrapin Trail Garage is by permit only. Permits will be issued only to students and guests who need parking accommodations due to a disability.
Is there handicapped parking close to Comcast Center?
Yes. The lots around Comcast Center have marked handicap parking spots for those with a state-issued disability placard, sticker or special license plate. In addition, graduating students with special needs—and any of their guests who need special accommodations—will receive a parking pass that will allow them to park in the Terrapin Trail Garage adjacent to Comcast Center. Parking in the Terrapin Trail Garage is by permit only.
Students, please see the Registration section below to learn how to request a special needs garage parking pass for yourself or your guests.
How do I know which ceremony to attend?
Students: Commencement ceremonies are divided by major. After you have registered for Commencement online, you will receive mailings detailing which ceremony you are to attend. Please refer to the Adelphi Commencement Home page for registration updates.
Faculty/Staff: When registering, faculty and staff have the option to select the Commencement ceremonies in which they will participate (a.m./p.m./both). Faculty members who plan to march in the ceremony usually participate in the one that corresponds to their discipline.
How long is the Commencement ceremony?
The anticipated length of the ceremony is two-and-one-half hours. Keep in mind that this time is approximate and may vary. Graduation candidates participating in the ceremony must remain until the conclusion of the ceremony to ensure the proceedings are not disrupted.
What should I do if I don't see my degree program listed?
Contact the Commencement committee by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Why does UMUC talk about graduation and commencement separately? Isn't it the same thing?
At UMUC, the terms "graduation" and "commencement" are significantly different:
Applying for graduation is the process where a student lets UMUC know that he or she is almost finished with all degree requirements and expects to receive a diploma. UMUC awards diplomas three times a year, in August, December and May; you'll hear us refer to each of these diploma conferral dates as August, December and May graduation, respectively.
So, graduation is simply the act of completing all of your requirements and earning your degree. Remember, you have to apply and pay a fee in order to graduate. Then...
After you apply to graduate, you're designated as a graduation candidate. Graduation candidates are invited to attend UMUC's Commencement ceremony, held once per year in May.
Commencement is the formal ceremony which recognizes and celebrates graduation candidates. It's the big day where you walk across the stage to the cheers of your family and friends and publicly celebrate your academic achievements.
Students who completed degree requirements in August and December 2011, as well as those who expect to complete their requirements in May 2012, will be invited to participate in the 2012 Commencement ceremonies.
How do I apply for graduation?
All students must apply for graduation via the MyUMUC student portal and ensure they have completed all their degree requirements. Students must complete an application and pay the $50 graduation fee by no later than February 15, 2012.
Is there a fee to participate in Commencement?
Graduation candidates do not pay an additional fee to participate in Commencement. Graduation candidates should be aware, however, that there is a cost associated with the purchase and/or rental of the cap and gown. Students are responsible for the cost to purchase and/or rent their cap and gown. The cap and gown is required for participation in Commencement.
Why do I have to pay a fee to graduate?
The $50 is an application fee that covers the administrative process of determining whether you have met all your degree and diploma requirements. Once Graduation Services has confirmed your graduating status, you will be able to go to the Adelphi Commencement Web site and register to participate in the ceremony.
Although I have applied for graduation via the MyUMUC student portal, how do I register for Commencement?
You will initially receive and introductory postcard via U.S. mail or an introductory e-mail. You will receive an additional e-mail that contains the link for graduation candidates to register for Commencement.
When can I register for Commencement?
First you must apply for graduation—that is, your diploma. Next, you will need to log into the online Commencement Registration form to indicate whether you can or cannot participate in the Adelphi Commencement ceremony held on May 12, 2012. You can complete the online registration now through April 20, 2012. You will continue to receive reminder e-mails until you complete the registration form.
I'm trying to register to attend Commencement, but I'm receiving an error message. What should I do?
First, be sure you are eligible to graduate and have applied for graduation in MyUMUC. If you are unsure whether you are eligible, contact Graduation Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-888-UMUC ext. 2299.
Also, check that you are entering the correct Empl ID number, which is your unique student identification number. To find it, log into MyUMUC and select MyInfo > Contact Information > Display my EmplID. If you continue to have trouble registering, e-mail the Commencement Committee at email@example.com.
Changing or Canceling Registration
I registered to attend, but now I cannot participate. Can I change my status to not attending?
You will be able to log back into the Commencement registration Web site to update your response. You can access the link to register for Commencement through the 2012 Commencement Web site. Once processed, you will receive an e-mail from the online registration system confirming the change.
I am graduating this year, but I cannot participate in May 2012 Commencement. Can I participate in Commencement 2013?
Yes, you are welcome to participate in the May 2013 Commencement ceremony. To do so, contact the Commencement Committee in February of 2013 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name will appear in the 2012 Commencement Program Book.
I'm a graduating stateside student, but I cannot attend the stateside Commencement 2012 ceremony. Can I participate in one of the overseas ceremonies?
We would be happy to include you in an overseas ceremony. Inform Graduation Services of the overseas ceremony you'd like to attend at email@example.com or call 800-888-UMUC ext. 2299.
I am a UMUC-Asia/Europe graduate. How do I attend Adelphi's Commencement?
Please have your Graduation Services unit in UMUC-Asia or UMUC-Europe contact Graduation Services in Adelphi. They will confirm your graduation status. Once your graduation status has been confirmed, we will process and coordinate your participation in the Adelphi ceremony.
If I am a previous graduate from another year, may I attend the Commencement ceremony?
UMUC alumni may attend Commencement as guests; however, tickets are required. Alumni who wish to assist with Commencement as a volunteer may contact Alumni Relations at 800-888-UMUC (8682), ext. 2777 for further information.
What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?
Graduation involves reviewing your graduation application for which you pay a $50 fee. Once you pay the fee, Graduation Services reviews your application to determine whether you have met the requirements for your diploma. At that time, Graduation Services will contact you regarding the status of your application. If you have met the qualifications and requirements necessary to obtain your degree, you will be able to register for the Commencement ceremonies.
Commencement is the celebratory occasion to recognize and laud the accomplishments of UMUC undergraduate and graduate students. All students, whether they intend to or are unable to participate in the Commencement ceremony must confirm via the online system on the Adelphi Commencement Web site. Any student who has not applied for graduation via the MyUMUC student portal AND received confirmation from Graduation Services that they will graduate, will not be allowed to register for Commencement and/or receive Commencement tickets.
Why does UMUC only hold Commencement ceremonies once per year?
UMUC proudly serves more than 92,000 students worldwide, both on-site and online. Commencement provides a unique opportunity for students, faculty and staff to meet (often for the first time) and celebrate their accomplishments. Therefore, to make this celebration as special as possible and to include a large group of students, faculty and staff, we hold Commencement once per year.
Preparing for Commencement
How do I know my name will appear in the Commencement book?
August and December graduates of the previous year who have applied for and have been cleared for graduation will be included in the Commencement book. All May candidates (including summer and fall of the previous year) who apply for graduation before the spring graduation application deadline will be included in the Commencement book.
My name, mailing address or e-mail address has changed. How can I have these updated?
To update your addresses, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date; your Commencement tickets will be sent to your mailing address on file, and we primarily communicate about Commencement via e-mail.
To change the way your name will appear on your diploma and in the Commencement Program Book, please contact the Registrar's Office at 800-888-UMUC ext. 2222 or email@example.com.
When will I receive more detailed information about Commencement (e.g., which ceremony to attend, where to park, etc.)?
A mailing will be sent out in late April to all graduation candidates. This mailing includes ceremony and parking information and ceremony tickets for guests. Graduates do not need a ticket to enter Comcast Center. A parking pass is not required for Commencement.
What do I wear to Commencement activities?
Dress for the new graduate reception is business casual attire. For the Commencement ceremony, graduates are encouraged to wear comfortable business casual attire under their regalia. It is strongly recommended that graduates wear comfortable shoes as there will be prolonged periods of standing and walking throughout the ceremony.
Where can I leave my belongings during the Commencement ceremony?
Please be aware that UMUC is unable to provide any storage space to hold candidates' personal belongings on the day of Commencement.
Regalia (Cap and Gown)
How do I order my cap and gown (regalia)?
Students can order their cap and gown when they register for Commencement. Regalia will be shipped directly to students.
In addition to ordering your regalia online, the regalia company, Oak Hall, will have a representative to take orders for regalia on a walk-in basis at the student entrance area located at the Academic Center at Largo, 1616 McCormick Drive, Largo, Maryland, on the following dates and times:
- Wednesday, March 28: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Thursday, March 29: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Friday, March 30: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
I can't pick up my regalia at the Academic Center at Largo. How can I get my regalia before the ceremony?
If you are not able to pick up your regalia before Commencement, limited qualities will be available on the morning of Commencement in the undergraduate and graduate robing areas.
What is the cost of regalia?
Upon registering to attend the Commencement ceremony, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. The confirmation e-mail contains a link to the Oak Hall Web site, where you can order your regalia. Full pricing information for purchase and/or rental of regalia will be located on the Oak Hall Web site.
Are colors different for the a.m. and p.m. ceremonies? Are they different for bachelor's or master's degree candidates?
All UMUC regalia, regardless of ceremony time, are black for bachelor's and master's degree candidates. Master's degree candidates have hoods associated with their degree or discipline. Doctoral candidates will have a blue robe and hood.
What if my regalia does not arrive on time?
Limited regalia will be available for pick up at the Academic Center at Largo on the following days:
- Wednesday, May 9: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Thursday, May 10: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Friday, May 11: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
A small amount of regalia will also be available on the morning of Commencement (May 12) in the undergraduate and graduate robing areas.
When is the Virtual Global Commencement Celebration offered and how do I register?
The Virtual Global Commencement Celebration is offered through WebTycho. Registration for this celebration is open. Registration and participation in the Virtual Global Commencement is not an application for graduation, nor is it your registration to participate in the May 12 Commencement ceremony.
How can I connect with other graduating students?
The Virtual Global Commencement Celebration is a free, non-credit event offered over the course of four weeks through WebTycho. It is designed to give students the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments, meet and greet fellow candidates for graduation, get the latest Commencement-related information and participate in career and Commencement-related activities from anywhere in the world. Visit www.umuc.edu/globalcelebrate to register.
Do I receive my diploma at Commencement?
Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement—you will receive a congratulatory letter from the Registrar's Office. Diplomas for August, December and May are mailed about six to eight weeks after each conferral date.
When is the New Graduate's Reception and where is it held?
The New Graduate Reception will be held on Friday, May 11, from 6:30–9 p.m. at UMUC's Inn and Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland.
Can I bring guests to the New Graduate's Reception?
Graduates are able to bring one guest to the reception.
How can I join the UMUC Alumni Association?
To activate your free Alumni Association membership and for more information, visit www.umucalumni.org.
Am I eligible to graduate this semester?
Check your eligibility status by contacting Graduation Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-888-UMUC ext. 2299.
How do I determine if I am eligible for graduation honors? (Undergraduate students only)
Graduation Services provides honors cords for undergraduate students qualifying for the following academic honors: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. If you are eligible, your cord will be mailed to you from the Department of Graduation Services.
In order to qualify for this status you must have at least a 3.8 grade-point average and have completed at least 45 semester hours of graded UMUC course work. Please refer to your academic catalog for further details. To determine if you are eligible for honors, please contact the Registrar's Office at 800-888-UMUC ext. 2222 or email@example.com.
What are the honor cord designations?
White cords represent Cum Laude, blue cords represent Magna Cum Laude, and gold cords represent Summa Cum Laude.
Will my honors be read at the ceremony?
All graduates are issued a pre-printed name card before they cross the stage. The name card has your name (and space for phonetic pronunciation if needed) and your honors designation on the card. Your name and honors designation will be read as you cross the stage.
How do I get an honor cord from the honor society to which I belong?
UMUC does not provide honor cords for specific honor societies. Students who believe they should receive an honor cord from a specific honor society should contact the organization directly.
Why do I need tickets for Commencement?
The Commencement ceremony is held in the Comcast Center on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. This facility maintains state and federal capacity and fire code guidelines to ensure the safety of all guests. Tickets are required for every guest of all graduates (including infants and children) to ensure compliance with safety protocols.
How do I receive Commencement tickets?
Follow these steps:
- Apply for graduation via the MyUMUC student portal.
- Pay the $50 application fee.
- Receive a pre-confirmation of your graduation status from Graduation Services.
- Register and receive confirmation of your registration for the Commencement ceremony (sent via e-mail).
- Receive Commencement tickets via U.S. mail as part of your Commencement packet mailing in the spring.
Please note: All of the above steps must be completed in order to receive Commencement tickets.
How many tickets will I get for Commencement?
For Commencement 2012, students will receive 10 tickets.
Can I buy additional tickets?
Commencement tickets are not for sale. Tickets should not be sold by any UMUC student or UMUC official. Students are encouraged to contact other graduates who may not use their full allotment of tickets. UMUC is not responsible for facilitating this exchange, but offers you a forum to interact with other interested parties.
Do children need tickets if they can sit in an adult's lap?
For safety reasons and fire code regulations that require an accurate count of everyone in Comcast Center, children of all ages require a ticket.
I have relatives coming from overseas. How do I get permission for them to come to the ceremony?
Family members or guests must have permission to travel outside of their country and must receive permission from their embassy to travel overseas to attend the Commencement ceremony. To facilitate this process, graduation candidates must contact Graduation Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-888-UMUC ext. 2299 to request an Embassy letter. Upon receipt of your request for an Embassy letter, we will research your graduation status and process you requests.
I and/or my guest(s) have special needs. What do I do?
When you register for Commencement via the Web site, you can indicate if you and/or your guest(s) have special needs and request specific accommodations. Graduates will receive a detailed packet of information with parking passes, designated entrance and seating information and other such pertinent details.
How do I receive information regarding lodging services?
Upon registering for Commencement, you will receive an e-mail confirmation. Contained in the confirmation e-mail is a link to UMUC's Inn and Conference Center, which will provide you additional information regarding lodging. This information will also be posted on the Adelphi Commencement Home page.
Will photographers be at the Commencement ceremony?
UMUC has contracted with an independent photography company that will be present in the undergraduate and graduate robing areas, as well as near the stage to take pictures of graduates once they have received their diplomas. After graduation, graduates will receive information about the option to purchase photos.
How do I order the Commencement DVD?
Students will be able to order the Commencement DVD through the Adelphi Commencement Web site. Students can also order the DVD through the UMUC Gear Web site. The DVD will be sent to students via U.S. mail about six weeks after the Commencement ceremony.
I cannot participate in Commencement, but I'd still like to order memorabilia. How can I order regalia, the program, the DVD and other Commencement items?
In addition to your regalia, you can order a class ring, announcements, thank you cards and a diploma frame through Oak Hall/Balfour.
You can order the Commencement Program Book and other items, such as the Commencement DVD and alumni clothing and merchandise, from the UMUC Gear Web site.
Who do I contact if I have additional questions about graduation requirements or the Commencement ceremony?
If you have questions about the ceremony please e-mail email@example.com. If you have questions about degree requirements and other related academic matters, please contact Graduation Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-888-UMUC ext. 2299.
How do I sign up to participate in Commencement?
All faculty and staff will receive a broadcast e-mail explaining how to sign up online to assist with Commencement. The registration link will be available in early April 2012 from the right menu in the Commencement section of the intranet.
How will I know where help is needed?
Staff: After logging in to the Commencement registration staff form, staff will be able to choose a team assignment from among those listed. Upon making your selection, staff will receive a confirmation e-mail indicating their selection. All the team information and descriptions will be listed in the Commencement section of the staff intranet.
Faculty: Faculty who wish to participate on a team assignment rather than march as a part of the procession should contact their school representative: Pam Risik, The Undergraduate School; Jennifer Thompson, The Graduate School.
Who is allowed to work Commencement?
Faculty and exempt staff are able to work Commencement.
Is Commencement required for staff?
Commencement is a required work day for exempt staff. Exceptions can be made for extreme circumstances, but must be approved by a supervisor and their respective cabinet member. Similarly, for staff who cannot work on the actual day of Commencement for an approved reason, opportunities have been created for staff to work on other days prior to the Commencement ceremonies.
Who is my team captain?
Team captain information, including name and contact information, will be available in the Commencement section of the staff intranet.
How will I know my specific team's responsibilities?
In addition to the general descriptions on the staff intranet, team captains will provide detailed information outlining specific needs and responsibilities for their team. Faculty participants usually march as a part of the processional. Additional duties may include serving as a hooder for master's degree candidates.
When and where do I report for my team assignment?
This may depend on what team you are working on. Generally, staff working at the morning Commencement ceremony are present from 7 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; staff working at the afternoon ceremony are present from 1:30–6:30 p.m. Staff should check in at the Host Room (South Suite Lobby, second floor of the Comcast Center) and then report to their team meeting location, which the team captain will communicate.
Faculty must check into Faculty Robing by 7:45 a.m. (for the morning ceremony) and 2:15 p.m. (for the afternoon ceremony) to the North Suite Lobby, second floor of the Comcast Center.
Where do I park?
Faculty will receive by mail a parking pass to park in the Terrapin Trail Garage at the Comcast Center. Due to construction projects and limited parking, UMUC staff cannot park in Terrapin Trail Garage this year. Staff must park in Lot UMUC or the ICC parking garage on UMUC’s Adelphi Campus. Shuttle buses will pick up and drop off staff at the sidewalk area between the Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard and Lot UMUC.
Are there any meals provided for those who work Commencement?
There will be morning and afternoon meals provided for staff in the Host Room. Additional refreshments are available throughout the day.
Morning refreshments are provided for faculty in the faculty robing room (North Suite Lobby, second floor of the Comcast Center). Faculty are invited to attend lunch in the Heritage Room at the Comcast Center.
What do I wear to work Commencement?
Staff who work the day of Commencement wear a UMUC-issued Commencement shirt along with business casual khaki, navy or black slacks. Certain assignments the day of Commencement (or on days prior) may require different clothing. Captains will inform their team members of appropriate dress for their assignment.
Faculty who participate in the procession wear academic regalia. Faculty who need to order academic regalia can do so when they register for Commencement. Faculty will receive a confirmation e-mail upon registering that will contain a link to the Oak Hall Web site to place your order.
Who can I contact if I have questions about Commencement?
If you have additional questions about Commencement that have not been addressed on this page, feel free to e-mail email@example.com. If you have questions about work assignments, please contact the appropriate team captain.